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With the succession now legally in the hands of William III and Mary II and with the death of the future Queen Anne’s son, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, it necessitated the Act of Settlement of 1701 that placed the succession on the nearest Protestant heir, the Electress Sophia of Hanover. She was a granddaughter of King James I-VI of England and Scotland. The Electress Sophia was married to the Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Imperial Elector of Hanover.

Ernst August of Hanover died January 23, 1698 and his son, Georg Ludwig became Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Imperial Elector of Hanover. He was also 2nd in line to the English and Scottish thrones throne via the Act of Settlement. Although not the topic of this series, in 1707 the Parliaments of England and Scotland were united to form the kingdom of Great Britain. The titles of King and Queen of England and the Scots passed into history. Georg-Ludwig’s mother, the Electress Sophia, did not live long enough to inherit the British throne she died June 8, 1714 a few weeks before the death of Queen Anne on August 1, 1714. Upon the death of Queen Anne the legal succession passed to Elector Georg-Ludwig of Hanover who became King George I of Great Britain. Although George was Elector of Hanover that country was not politically united with Great Britain.

The deposed king, James II-VII, died in 1701 and the Stuart claim passed to his son, James Francis, Prince of Wales who then claimed the throne as King James III-VIII of England and Scotland. The followers of James, known as Jacobites, did not recognize the union of England and Scotland so you will often see the Jacobite claimants call themselves Kings of England and Scotland rather than Great Britain. When James claimed the titles to his father’s thrones these claims were recognised as by France, Spain, the Papal States and Modena. These states refused to recognise William III, Mary II or Queen Anne as legitimate sovereigns. Another consequence of James claims to the throne was that the British government charged him with treason and his title, Prince of Wales, was attainted March 2, 1702, and were considered forfeited under English law. For the rest of this post James will be called The Old Pretender.

It is not the scope of this series to delve in-depth with he Jacobite uprisings but I will give a brief synopsis. James had support in France from King Louis XIV who had been the first cousin to both Charles II and James II-VII. Also, at this time France was at war against Britain as the War of the Spanish Succession raged throughout Europe as Louis XIV’s grandson, Felipe V, became the new King of Spain. In 1715 the year after the accession of George I, John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar, began a rebellion with the aim of placing James, the Old Pretender on the throne. This rebellion failed.

In 1745 another rebellion occurred under the Old Pretender’s son, Charles Edward, known to his supporters as King Charles III and to history as Bonnie Prince Charlie. This uprising moved as far into England as Derby and culminated in the Battle of Culloden. The armies of Field Marshal George Wade and of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II of Great Britain led the British forces to victory. Bonnie Prince Charlie fled to Europe with a large price on his head.

After the Battle of Culloden the Jacobite movement dwindled considerably. Charles Edward married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern but had no legitimate offspring. He left a natural daughter, Charlotte Stuart, created Duchess of Albany by her father but this title had no legal standing in Britain. When Charles Edward died in 1788 the Jacobite claim to the throne went to his brother, Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York. He was a Catholic Priest and to his supporters he was Known as King Henry IX of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

After the French Revolution, Henry lost his French Royal benefices and sacrificed many other resources to assist Pope Pius VI. He also lost all of his French property which caused him to descend into poverty. Ironically, the British Minister in Venice arranged for Henry to receive an annuity of £4,000 from King George III of Great Britain. In his will,  which he signed as “Henry R”, he was succeeded his claim to the British/English/Scottish throne to his nearest blood-relative, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia. However, Charles never asserted nor renounced his Jacobite claims, nor have any of his successors to this day.

In the near future I will do a post about Jacobitism and the succession of those claimants. My next entry in the Legal Succession series will be the last as I bring it up to date with current times.

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